Speaking as the father of three children, I can safely say that shopping for school is a major undertaking each year.

My wife and I had to walk through school supply lists each year for our children and make certain we were buying the right supplies so that each of our little ones had the right supplies they needed to navigate the classroom with everything they needed.

And after the first couple of years, we realized that developing a supply cabinet, then, what became essentially a corner of our linen closet, was not only helpful, but important for our children's success going forward through school.


Imagine -- you get to "classroom project season," and over the dinner table -- or more likely, while you're doing something else -- you're hit with a conversation like this:

"Dad, I've got a project due in social studies, and I need two binders, some poster board and some contact cement for," which is something that my youngest daughter not only has said to me in the past, but is likely to ask me now. She's a junior in high school and involved in everything.

(Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)
Fiona Goodall

After asking her a few questions about her project -- mostly to make sure that I'm not missing anything and to make sure that there's not anything else I need to add to the supply list, I confidently head over to the linen closet, pull out most of the materials she needs, and write up the short list of what is left so we can go pick them up.

The key is shopping for extra items during this time of year. Take these supply lists and add to them.

We've got a list of retailers who have fantastic discounts on these supply lists. Take advantage of that to stock up, because you will need more of what the supply lists indicate. That way you don't get caught empty-handed.

Many of the office supply retailers sell binders, notebook paper and pencils at pennies on the dollar during this season, allowing parents to stock up and to have these products on hand all year long. Other products are heavily discounted, though not to the same degree, which makes them equally obtainable for frugal shoppers.